Trying to Understand Upgrade Availability for AF

Old Nov 26, 18, 2:47 pm
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Trying to Understand Upgrade Availability for AF

I'm flying from JFK-CDG next month (3rd week in Dec) and trying to upgrade to business class either with miles or cash. I currently hold premium economy ticket with fare code W. I'm a Flying Blue member but don't fly them often so don't hold any premium status with them. I just started using Expert Flyer and the availability in ExpertFlyer shows this:

P3 F0 J9 C9 D9 I9 Z0 W5 S1 A0 Y9 B9
M9 U9 K9 H7 L5 Q2 T0 E0 N0 R0 V0

When I check the seating chart for this flight, business class shows 58 seats available out of a possible 82 seats.

When I call AF they tell me there is nothing available. I've also been told that fare code "O" is what I should look for in Expert Flyer but I don't even see that being listed as a possible fare code. Being relatively new here I'm seeing 58 seats available in business class and Expert Flyer is telling me there is at least 9 seats available in various business class fare codes. Can someone help me shed some light on this and let me know if there's a good chance I'll be able to upgrade? Curious why they won't let me upgrade now given how open the flight looks. Any tips are much appreciated. Thanks.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 3:40 pm
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Those are the results of the 'flight Availability' tag. Try 'Awards & Upgrade'

Regarding nothing available; I also noticed this issue on another forum. Somewhat strange as FB stated on their website;
Starting from 1 July, Flying Blue has made it easier than ever for you to treat yourself to an upgrade when you are flying with AIR FRANCE or KLM. Previously only certain booking classes were eligible for an upgrade with Miles, but from the beginning of July tickets in any booking class can be upgraded with Miles*. This means that whichever ticket you purchase, you can always use your Miles for an upgrade to a higher travel class**. It’s as easy as that!

Book any seat

Booking a reward ticket is the most popular way to spend Miles. Therefore, Flying Blue is rolling out another great advantage for our members. On 1 June, you will be able to use your Miles to book any available seat on flights with Air France, KLM, HOP!, Joon and Transavia.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 3:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Grouchy View Post
Those are the results of the 'flight Availability' tag. Try 'Awards & Upgrade'

Regarding nothing available; I also noticed this issue on another forum. Somewhat strange as FB stated on their website;
Starting from 1 July, Flying Blue has made it easier than ever for you to treat yourself to an upgrade when you are flying with AIR FRANCE or KLM. Previously only certain booking classes were eligible for an upgrade with Miles, but from the beginning of July tickets in any booking class can be upgraded with Miles*. This means that whichever ticket you purchase, you can always use your Miles for an upgrade to a higher travel class**. Itís as easy as that!

Book any seat

Booking a reward ticket is the most popular way to spend Miles. Therefore, Flying Blue is rolling out another great advantage for our members. On 1 June, you will be able to use your Miles to book any available seat on flights with Air France, KLM, HOP!, Joon and Transavia.
@Grouchy I used "Awards and Upgrade" too on Expert Flyer and it showed:

Description/Code/Seats
Business - Flex Award for Elites/C/9

So it's only showing fare code "C" and not "O"

I called Flying Blue and they said there's nothing available to upgrade despite there being a lot of seats showing available.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 4:50 pm
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Before you could only upgrade a few booking class, typically full fare or almost. Now you can upgrade any booking class but it costs more miles. One exception, I think it was noted in their terms and conditions, Z and I cannot be upgrade to first class, as well as award tickets cannot be upgraded with miles either.
You can also redeem miles to book "any seat" wlthough typically full fare booking classes (PJWY) can sometimes not be bought with miles it seems. However, they have never promised that you can upgrade any fare at any time, capacity control is still regulated for upgrades like it used to be since you need to hve F/O/A availability.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 5:15 pm
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Originally Posted by flywithmiles70 View Post
I'm flying from JFK-CDG next month (3rd week in Dec) and trying to upgrade to business class either with miles or cash. I currently hold premium economy ticket with fare code W. I'm a Flying Blue member but don't fly them often so don't hold any premium status with them. I just started using Expert Flyer and the availability in ExpertFlyer shows this:

P3 F0 J9 C9 D9 I9 Z0 W5 S1 A0 Y9 B9
M9 U9 K9 H7 L5 Q2 T0 E0 N0 R0 V0

When I check the seating chart for this flight, business class shows 58 seats available out of a possible 82 seats.

When I call AF they tell me there is nothing available. I've also been told that fare code "O" is what I should look for in Expert Flyer but I don't even see that being listed as a possible fare code. Being relatively new here I'm seeing 58 seats available in business class and Expert Flyer is telling me there is at least 9 seats available in various business class fare codes. Can someone help me shed some light on this and let me know if there's a good chance I'll be able to upgrade? Curious why they won't let me upgrade now given how open the flight looks. Any tips are much appreciated. Thanks.
O is now used for both revenue and award tickets (upgrade with FB and award with SkyTeam FFP). So be sure to use the award search function of ExpertFlyer.

Seat map is also an indicator of how full the cabin is, specially in J where as opposed to Y the seats can be reserved for free at the time of booking.

Now because the loads are lights (and the cabin seems empty) does not mean the revenue management is not expecting the flight to be full in the end. They have tons of data to predict that, actually it is their job. So there is a pretty good reason they did not release a single O seat for that particular flight. Not to mention that, as explained by others, FB members can redeem any available seat as an award (at hefty price though). So releasing O is only to allow partner's frequent flyer to redeem a award on that flight or for a FB member to upgrade.

Should the cabin remain relatively empty during the days before the flight they might release from 1 to n O seats.

Now your best bet is to set an alert in ExpertFlyer. Those work very well in my experience. Be prepared to jump on the phone as soon as you receive the alert.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 10:46 pm
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Hi flywithmiles70,

Just a remark: being booked in Premium Economy fare class W allows you, in order to upgrade to business class, to use the fare bucket Z in addition to the O fare. Premium Economy A and S are only upgradable subject to availability in O in comparison.

Therefore, I suggest you set up an alarm notification on ExpertFlyer for both Z and O fare class openings. Having openings in Z is probably more likely than the Os.

For a JFK-CDG, a miles upgrade from W to Z will cost you 22,500 miles. Very reasonable.

Good luck!
-vinnyc
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Old Nov 27, 18, 12:28 am
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OP - keep in mind that AF overbooks its economy and premium economy cabins often. Especially the 3rd week of December, when leisure travel is peaking and business travel is lower than usual.

This results in a lot of OPUPs and moving around the cabin of various folks; you might see 58 seats now, but I've been on AF flights were economy is overbooked by 30-40. All those people have to sit somewhere.
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Old Nov 27, 18, 1:54 am
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Originally Posted by flywithmiles70 View Post
@Grouchy I used "Awards and Upgrade" too on Expert Flyer and it showed:

Description/Code/Seats
Business - Flex Award for Elites/C/9

So it's only showing fare code "C" and not "O"

I called Flying Blue and they said there's nothing available to upgrade despite there being a lot of seats showing available.
In EF "O" is the second fare that you can choose (before "C'). If there is no O availability, EF will not show O0 but simply will not show any O availability.
In the third week of December JFK had full C availability C9 but none in O. But that could open up. I agree with previous posters that you should set up an alert notification for O on EF.

I assume that you tried to upgrade on line and that there is no option. Given the new information posted by AF, you should be able to upgrade, but maybe they reserve it to elite pax. However, the "price" might be very stiff unless O opens.
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Old Nov 27, 18, 7:25 am
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@btonkid12345 being new hear could you please tell me what "OP" and "OPUP" stands for? Thanks.
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Old Nov 27, 18, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by flywithmiles70 View Post
@btonkid12345 being new hear could you please tell me what "OP" and "OPUP" stands for? Thanks.
OP = original poster; OPUP = operational upgrade (e.g. due to lack of space in originally booked class).
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Old Nov 27, 18, 9:03 am
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Originally Posted by vinnyc View Post
Hi flywithmiles70,

Just a remark: being booked in Premium Economy fare class W allows you, in order to upgrade to business class, to use the fare bucket Z in addition to the O fare. Premium Economy A and S are only upgradable subject to availability in O in comparison.

Therefore, I suggest you set up an alarm notification on ExpertFlyer for both Z and O fare class openings. Having openings in Z is probably more likely than the Os.

For a JFK-CDG, a miles upgrade from W to Z will cost you 22,500 miles. Very reasonable.

Good luck!
-vinnyc
@vinnyc I just got off the phone with with AF. They told that fare class W cannot upgrade to fare class Z unless you are FB Elite, which I am not. I was told that in order to upgrade from Premium Economy W there needs to be O class availability which there is not. Interestingly enough, there is now Z availability on this flight and seems to have just opened up this morning and now showing Z9. There is also standard award availability too which I'm guessing corresponds to the Z class availability. Super frustrating!
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Old Nov 27, 18, 9:29 am
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Originally Posted by PeteM01 View Post
OP = original poster; OPUP = operational upgrade (e.g. due to lack of space in originally booked class).
Exactly.

Airlines might oversell economy, for example, by a bunch of seats because they want to maximize revenue - so they will sell more economy seats than they have if premium economy or business are empty because they know they can seat those extra people from economy in other seats on the plane

AirFrance does this by moving people with status up 1 cabin - again only if overbooked. So they bump their Platinums etc up to make space for the no status people with economy reservationa but without a seat assignment
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Old Nov 27, 18, 12:13 pm
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Originally Posted by btonkid12345 View Post
AirFrance does this by moving people with status up 1 cabin - again only if overbooked. So they bump their Platinums etc up* to make space for the no status people with economy reservationa but without a seat assignment
* but not very often...
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Old Nov 27, 18, 1:53 pm
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Originally Posted by PeteM01 View Post
* but not very often...
It really depends on the route and the time of year.

But JFK-CDG around Christmas/New Year's time is usually a good candidate for OPUPs to occur.
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Old Nov 27, 18, 2:48 pm
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Another update as of today. . . I'm now seeing Z availability on this flight with Z9 showing in EF. When I check the same flight with KVS tool it shows award availability "CS+". When I look up "CS" on the KVS user guide for Air France it shows:

O/CS Business Award

This leads me to believe that "O" is the same as "CS" and therefore there should be "O" availability now for this flight. However, after just speaking with AF they are telling me there is no "O" availability. Is "O" and "CS" the same? What am I missing?

I also asked a couple of the FB agents "What is the likelihood that "O" will become available as the departure date nears. Both representatives gave me the impression that is it not likely and just said you can try to upgrade on DoD. If that's the case, can I upgrade 24 hours prior online? Phone? Or must I wait to get to the airport?
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